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3 Best Lake District Hikes

Lake District Hikes

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3 BEST LAKE DISTRICT HIKES

England’s Lake District Hikes offer some of the best hikes in the world. Take a strenuous or easy hike, and enjoy the awesome views you find here! The Lake District has a variety of landscapes for your hiking pleasure.

The Lake District provides a safe habitat for rare, unusual, and protected animals too. The district has the largest population of peregrine falcons anywhere in Europe. Fast-flowing streams in the district’s uplands provide a great home for other birds including dippers and grey wagtails.

In addition to fish, the district’s rivers offer a safe home to otters, crayfish, and freshwater mussels.

lake district hikes
Lake District – Helm Crag (Me)

The Lake District has a variety of stunning landscapes. Lake District hikes offer a range of landscapes that include the coast, grasslands, woodland, and forest. The Lake District has more native woods than any other British national park. (Lake District National Park – Maps)

When you take these Lake District Hikes, be sure to take your Hiking Poles! Hiking poles provide you with several benefits as you hike. Some pole benefits include:

  • Taking the pressure off your hips and knees
  • Keep your balance on slick trails or trails with a lot of rocks or tree roots
  • Keep your balance when crossing rivers and streams

HELM CRAG – 4 MILES; MODERATE

Take the walk to Helm Crag’s summit for one of the best lake district hikes. Enjoy a brisk, strenuous in places, walk. You can make this walk in a few hours. Be careful if you make the hike in the rain. In places, you will walk over slippery rocks.

The Helm Crag walk is not too long but becomes steep in places. When you reach the top you see several rocks that have their own names. On the southeastern summit, you see “The Lion and the Lamb”. At the other end, you see the true top of the crag. The top has two names, one is “The Old Lady Playing the Organ”. The other name is “The Howitzer”.

This fairly short but steep walk gives you stunning views of Grasmere. You also have pretty views of Far Easdale. The English “Lake Poet” William Wordsworth had this to say about the village of Grasmere. Wordsworth describes Grasmere as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”

My young adult children and I took this walk. We enjoyed every step of this hike and the stunning views along the way!

lake district hikes
Lake District – Helm Crag

START YOUR WALK.

  • Begin in Grasmere Village.
  • At Easedale Road, follow the arrow on the sign that says “Easedale Tarn”. 
  • Take the road past the Youth Hostel and Goody Bridge which crosses over Easedale Beck. 
  • Follow the road to the right, then follow the road left until you cross the pasture.
  • When you reach a hamlet at the foot of Helm Crag,  turn right into a lane at the sign “Public Bridleway Far Easedale Helm Crag Footpath”.
  • Be careful, if it is a wet day, the path becomes slippery. 
  • Enjoy the breathtaking view when you reach Helm Crag’s peak!
  • Simply reverse your directions for the best return path.

BOWSCALE FELL – 5.2 MILES; STRENUOUS

Enjoy the rustic village of Mungrisdale. The short Bowscale Fell walk begins here. Start by walking to the northern edge of Mungrisdale. Then take the steep climb up Raven Crags. Shortly after you begin the steep slope levels so your walk becomes easier. Relax and enjoy hiking along the scenic ridge.

START YOUR HIKE

  • Walk through Mungrisdale village. Go past the church.
  • At the crossroads, take the gravel lane to your left. Walk between the houses and an old quarry.
  • Go through the gate.
  • Turn right onto a steep grass path.
  • Walk through the yellow gorse bushes.
Lake District – Helm Crag

THE TOP OF THE TRAIL

  • Take the left path. In places, expect a muddy path.
  • When the path splits again, hike to the wind shelter. The shelter is the highest part of this hike.
  • After the shelter, take a slight left.
  • Take the next left onto a narrow trail.
  • Look for a standing stone. At the stone, turn left onto a wider trail.
  • Follow the wide path down a slow slope until you reach the Glenderamackin River.
  • When the Bullfell Beck (stream) and the Glenderamackin River meet, turn left over the new footbridge.
  • Follow the flagstone path.
  • Bear left, and hike the gravel path until you return to Mungrisdale.

SCAFELL PIKE – 6.8 MILES; STRENUOUS

Be prepared for a strenuous hike. The hike includes a steep, difficult climb. When you reach the top of Scafell Pike, you climbed to the highest point in England! Be ready for a difficult crossing when you reach Lingmell Gill. The water is ROUGH!

AS YOU PREPARE FOR THIS HIKE, FOLLOW THIS ADVICE FROM THE WASDALE MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM:

  • Get a weather forecast.
  • Leave a route card with your details, the intended route, your equipment, and estimated time of arrival with someone responsible.
  • Wear suitable clothing – warm, windproof, and waterproof whatever the time of year. Wear good walking boots with suitable soles.
  • Carry basic survival equipment, food, and spare clothes for the time of year. Remember conditions can change quickly on the hills and even a midsummer day can have gale-force winds and rain.

Crossing Lingmell Gill can be dangerous!

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

The top of Scafell Pike is a field of large boulders. You also find small to very large broken rocks along the mountain top and sides.

Large piles of stacked rocks, also known as cairns, mark winding paths.

Be careful! You can easily get lost since this can be a confusing hike. Rock piles and big rocks begin to look a lot alike making it hard to stay on the trail. If you hike here in bad weather, be especially cautious.

Often, the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) has to help lost hikers. The video below shows you how serious it can be when you cross the Lingmell Gill.

Still, the soaring the trails along the steep, rugged cliffs treat you to a scene of rough beauty. You see grand, breathtaking, majestic beauty when you take this walk! Treat yourself to gorgeous scenes that were here long before us and will be here long after us.

lake district hikes
Lake District – Helm Crag

START YOUR HIKE.

  • Begin your walk at the Wasdale Head village green. Park for free at the green.
  • From the parking area on the village green, hike the road towards Wast Water.
  • In about 100 yards, go through the gate with a sign that says “Scafell”.
  • Follow the path across the field marked by fence posts.
  • At the bridge cross Lingmell Beck.
  • Bear right on a rough path.
  • Go through the gate in the wall.
  • Hike past the rocky hill
  • Turn left
  • Go to the gate beyond where the two paths meet.
  • In about 200 yards 2 streams meet.

THE CAIRNS AND THE TOP

  • Turn right to cross the stream.
  • Hike the easy, new Brown Tongue Path.
  • At the cairn (rock pile), go left to stay on the main path.
  • Follow the cairns to stay on the trail.
  • Look carefully for the cairns marking the trail since they can blend in with the rocky field
  • The trail begins to slope steeply here.
  • Take the next sharp left turn. You should see the top of Scafell Pike.

ON YOUR WAY DOWN THE MOUNTAIN

lake district hikes
Lake District – Helm Crag
  • Look to your west, and find the steps leading down the mountain.
  • Walk down the steps, and turn right. Be sure you stay on the trail marked by the cairns!
  • Hike to the cairn on the ridge’s right side.
  • Hike down and turn right. Look for a short sloping, flat rock to mark the return trail.
  • Walk until the path turns left.
  • Continue following the path marked by cairns.
  • Hike down the slope as the path zigzags and becomes a trail made with stones. Sometimes the trails become VERY slick. When wet, be careful as you hike down the trail.
  • Stay to the right when the trail splits.
  • After you cross Lingmell Gill, turn left.
  • Return through the kissing gate.

RETURN TO WASDALE HEAD

  • Turn right on a trail that looks like it has steps.
  • Cross the footbridge.
  • Follow the line of fence posts to the road.
  • Turn right, and walk to the Wasdale Head village green.

CONCLUSION – LAKE DISTRICT HIKES

When you take one of the Lake District Hikes, be prepared to see stunning scenery in one of England’s best outdoor areas. The Lake District offers some of the most stunning views you find anywhere in the world! Lake District hikes range from strenuous to easy. You can find enough spectacular hikes to justify a Lake District Hiking vacation. Go, and get away from it all.

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